Jerry Maguire showed his client the money with a multi-million dollar contract, but sports agents in the swimming world have a more daunting task of finding work and sponsorship for relatively low-profile athletes (swimmers). Swimming, though one of the most popular sports every four years during Olympic fever, has yet to really break into prime time and certainly, with the exception of one Mr. Michael Phelps and maybe a few others, has not broken into mainstream sponsorship. I think that this will change given a little bit of time and a little bit of love from people like yourselves-swim fans and supporters of Olympic wives.
Mark does have an agent, like we would recommend for anyone trying to make it (not necessarily trying to make it "big" but those merely trying to make it to the next season-I'm assuming that if you want to make it "big" that you would also need an agent). Mark's agent, David Arluck, helps Mark to establish working relationships with organizations such as the USA Swimming Foundation, the USOC and other companies so that Mark can get work such as speaking engagements, autograph sessions and swim clinics. Like you probably assume, Arluck Promotions arranges work for Mark and then gets a "cut" of the payment. Is it worth it? Absolutely. There was a time, before Mark had an agent, that he relied solely on the USA Swimming/USOC stipend (this was a stressful time and I am so thankful that I was merely the girlfriend at the time and did not have to experience, directly, this stress-I was only an outsider at the time and the nagging was minimal). Now, Mark's agent ensures that Mark has steady work throughout the year-thank goodness because we have yet to get a sponsorship for daycare and diapers (though if the makers of Pampers, Luvs or any other diaper brand is out there and would like to become a sponsor, please drop us a line. I am not above slapping a logo on the rear end of our sweet baby girl).
David also helps to protect Mark's rights (to his name, likeness, image, etc.) as a professional athlete.
The big question that I'm sure all of you are wondering is if I meddle in Mark's business with his agent. The answer, maybe an obvious one, is yes. Duh. I am a nervous swim wife. Again, it is my job to nag, meddle and instigate. I involve myself when Mark asks me to and when I think it is necessary. Do I include myself in every conversation between Mark and his agent? No... I swear.